15th Annual PrideIndex.com Esteem Awards Finalists


Chicago, April 7, 2022 – Today, we’re excited to announce that four organizations and fourteen individuals have been selected to be honored at the 15th Annual Esteem Awards. A committee of past finalists has chosen this year’s recipients. 

Award finalist will be celebrated at an in-person event on Saturday, July 2, at Sidetrack 3349 N. Halsted in Chicago from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Author/Activist Michelle E. Brown will host this exciting celebration of honor. Comedian Sampson McCormick will provide the entertainment. The event is free and open to the public. 

Following is a list of Esteem Awards finalists: 

  • Outstanding Service, Male: Ken Meija-Beal, Community organizer and Chair of the DuPage County Democratic Party. 
  • Outstanding Service, Female: Angela Barnes and Renauda Riddle, Activist and Co-Owners, Nobody’s Darling.  
  • Outstanding Service, Transgender: Zahara Bassett, Founder/Chief Executive Officer at Life is work. 
  • Outstanding Social Services/CBOLorde, Rustin & Bates is a systemic and structural level change agent that centers LGBTQ communities of color.
  • Special Recognition: Black Alphabet Film Festival. Its mission is to promote social equity awareness and education in all aspects of life for the Black LGBTQ+ community.


  • Outstanding Service, Female: Eboné Bell, Keynote Speaker and Publisher of Tagg Magazine. Tagg Magazine was created to provide a central source for LGBTQ culture, news, and events.
  • Outstanding Service, Transgender: Tori Cooper, Director of Community Engagement at Human Rights Campaign. She is a health and equity advocate, educator, and published author. 
  • Institutional Award: Greater Than AIDS, a leading national public information response from Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), focused on communities most affected in the U.S.
  • Artistic Expression: Nina Kennedy is a world-renowned concert pianist, author, and filmmaker. She is Creative Director, INFEMNITY Productions LLC.
  • Artistic Expression: Kelly Ross, Artist & Proprietor, K. Ross Original Art. His abstract art reflects his spirit; bold, colorful, strong, and textured. 
  • Special Recognition: GEMMEL & TIM documentary filmmakers Michiel Thomas. Michael Franklin and Niq Lewis. GEMMEL & TIM explores the lives and untimely passing’s of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean, two Black gay men who died from meth overdoses at the home of West Hollywood politico Ed Buck. 


Since 2007, PrideIndex.com’s Esteem Awards has honored local and national organizations and individuals for their continued efforts in supporting the African-American and LGBT communities in entertainment, media, civil rights, business, and art.

PrideIndex.com is an online entertainment portal for the African-American and LGBTQ+ communities. It features profiles of activists, authors, club promoters, filmmakers, performance artists, conferences, support groups, and health & wellness resources. 


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